Often times, a road trip helps team chemistry and renews team focus.
The Boston Celtics, who have been struggling of late having lost five of their last six, took a huge first step in the right direction. They clinched the first game of their California road trip in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors by 33 points, the largest loss at Oracle Arena in the Steve Kerr era.
Gordon Hayward led the way with 30 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals on 12-of-16 shooting (4-of-6 on 3's), almost single-handedly equalling the production of the Warriors' reserves (32 points). He finished with a game-high +32 in 28 minutes of action.
👏 @gordonhayward sparks the @celtics win in Oakland with 30 PTS off the bench! #CUsRise pic.twitter.com/SErrGlj4ES- NBA (@NBA) March 6, 2019
All-Star Kyrie Irving, who didn't necessarily have an efficient night, put up a double-double of 19 points and 11 assists with a +/- of +20, highest amongst the starters.
☘️ @KyrieIrving (19p/11a/5r) on the ball-movement in big @celtics road W! #CUsRise#NBAPostgame pic.twitter.com/4Fv8Gnqb34- NBA (@NBA) March 6, 2019
As Irving mentioned, the Celtics showed some sensational ball movement in the win, recording an assist on 38 (season-high) of their 49 field goals. As a team, they shot 51.0% from the field and made 14 3's on 41.2% shooting from deep while only turning the ball over 11 times.
The Celtics outplayed the Warriors in almost every statistical category - turnovers (+11), fast break points (+4), points in the paint (+12) and points off turnovers (+13).
It was a tough night offensively for the 2-time defending champions. Already missing Klay Thompson, the Warriors only had three players in double figures - DeMarcus Cousins (10 points, 4-of-12 shooting), Kevin Durant (18 points, 5-of-16 shooting) and Stephen Curry (23 points, 4 assists, 8-of-16 shooting).
Although the champs started the new year red-hot (17-2 stretch), they have now lost five of their last eight. They continue this short homestand after a couple of day's rest against the Denver Nuggets while the Celtics will play the Kings in Sacramento on the second night of back-to-back.